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Thoroughbreds

Horse Racing: Mick McMudder’s Sunday picks

A breakdown of races at Aqueduct and Laurel for Dec. 23, 2018

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Good luck and never bet odds on favorites. Why? In order to make money after the take outs, odds on favorites would need to win more than 70% of those races. They win less than 50%.

Picks for December 23, 2018:

Sunday should bring better weather although both Aqueduct and Laurel have taken on a lot of rain which will lead to tight main tracks. Expect fast by race time on Sunday but both venues may start at Good. Parx is dark until 12/29.

Laurel Race 1

Start the day with an open $5K claimer. Not the most glamorous condition but a solid offering of horses that can go fast on the right day. Sunday may be the right day for 3-Zoo Yorker, a Jeremiah Englehart trainee making his first start since Finger Lakes closed. Few of the Finger Lakes horses have held form at Laurel but this one is getting dropped by a trainer that strikes at 40+% at Laurel. And he is at 3/1 M/L which is more than fair.

$10 win 3-Zoo-Yorker

Laurel Race 3

On many cards, a race of this quality is a Stake. This one is full of older sprinters coming out of tougher spots. Top trainers and top jockeys but look at the name you may not know…Jenn Patterson. Who? Jenn was Shug McGaughey’s longtime assistant and Orb’s exercise rider. And Bob LaPenta entrusted this horse to her. Being at the elbow of a trainer that brought horses off layoffs to win, the thought here is that she has this one in a good spot and the 6 furlongs work says this one has been on go for a while. Gets Trevor McCarthy to ride.

If the M/L holds or floats up:

$20 W/P/S 1-Uncontested

Aqueduct Race 1

An open $12,500 for olders at the one-turn mile. This is usually a specialist race since getting a horse to relax is paramount to success and not all one-turn horses relax. The key is to beat the 3/5 fave 3-Arewehavingfunyet. The likely filler of the upsetter role is 6-Caribbean Girl. Gotta love when a 4% trainer (in 2018) arrives at the Big A and wins immediately. Go with it Joe Parker!

$10 Win 6-Caribbean Girl

Aqueduct Race 7

First level allowance race in December means that the 3-year-olds have (usually) caught up with the older horses. Looking at the 3-year-olds here it appears that they are the class of the race. So let’s just stop thinking so much and just box them all!

$1 Superfecta box 1, 4, 6, 7 and hope the 7 finishes on the bottom! (Sorry Jimmy)

Aqueduct Race 8 Gravesend Stakes

Fast horses! Field of 6! $100K purse! One of these doesn’t fit. Why does a race like this only draw 6 entries? Obviously they are all good. Lifetime best speed figs are all very similar and exceed what it should take to win the race. So finding value becomes a challenge. With the short field, it’s tough to get paid from the exotics since spreading is not rewarded. This is a process of elimination. Throw out the horses coming off the long layoff and get to 4. Let’s go with the horse with the best recent form at Aqueduct . . . The Parx shipper! Jockey Frankie Pennington gets two in a row at the Big A. And should get a decent price.

$20 Win 4-Always Sunshine

And now for some quickies….

Aqueduct Race 9

Straight pedigree play…Tiznow /AP Indy should make a nice horse and gets blinkers. Betting 1-Confederation.

Laurel Race 9

Mick saw this horse run at Parx . . . THREE days ago! Trainer Jamie Ness knows when a horse can turn around quickly and this one looks the part. Betting 2-Worth His Salt.

Mick McMudder has been playing the ponies and picking winners since Ferdinand won the Derby, Broad Brush made a right turn and still won the Pennsylvania Derby and Snow Chief was champion three year old after winning the Preakness and Jersey Derby (still a travesty for Mick…it should have been Ferdinand). But the most influential horse born in the same year was a Pennsylvania-bred….Storm Cat who made up for his limited race track career with a stud career that has not been equaled since…although Galileo is getting close! Since his fateful first trip to Timonium (you gotta start somewhere!), Mick has bought, sold, bred, raced, claimed, retired, retrained, rehomed, and, most of all, bet on thoroughbreds. In addition, he has played the ponies on four different continents and justified far too many farm trips to the TSA.

With his picks below, Mick is trying to show races where he thinks there is an opportunity to make the right wager and get a return on your investment in line with the risk involved. You will seldom see him calling out the morning line chalk. Although focusing on the Mid Atlantic tracks, he will feature top races from elsewhere in the country (and world, when possible), especially those that are Grade 1s or leading up to the classics.